Johnson Previews Wednesday's Georgia Matchup
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's basketball team, off its first SEC road win of the season Saturday at South Carolina, must now try to again defend its home arena Wednesday night as the University of Georgia Bulldogs come to town.
Game time is 7 p.m. as the game will be regionally televised on the SEC Network and on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Tickets are available at LSUtix.net starting at $15 for adults ($5 for youth ages 3-12).
Those attending the LSU baseball game at 3 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium on Wednesday against McNeese State may bring their baseball tickets to the ticket windows at the PMAC for $1 tickets for the basketball game. Also all faculty and staff at LSU may purchased $1 tickets for the contest. There is a limit of four tickets for Faculty and Staff per person.
LSU is 16-10, 6-6 in the SEC and presently in a four-way tie for fourth place in the league. Georgia, which lost to Vanderbilt at home on Sunday, is now 12-14 overall and 3-9 in the league.
Here are some of Coach Johnson's comments from Monday's media session:
Opening Statement ...
"Georgia, I'm not so sure there's anybody in our league with probably the exception of maybe Kentucky, that has played as tough of schedule as they have. When you look at their non-conference schedule, my goodness - Cal, Cincinnati, beat Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, good UAB team at home. Obviously, what goes on in our league. They're young, they're talented, they're skilled. Probably more importantly, they're playing extremely hard. We understand, I don't think I have to talk to my guys about what's in front of us. One of the things that concern me is their [Georgia's] guard play. [Gerald] Robinson is very, very talented. Kentavious [Caldwell-Pope] as good of freshman as there is and then obviously, [Dustin] Ware has been in the league for four years. Again, for us, we need to make sure we have our 'A' game then it's on to the next fistfight so to speak.
On coaching against Georgia's Mark Fox is there anything you can surprise him with ...
"No. I don't. There's a relationship there that's built off of a lot of hard work, a lot of trust, a lot of loyalty and a lot of commitment. For me, it's about making sure that we do the things we've been doing all year long and don't get caught up in trying to over-think this or over-analyze because he knows me all too well. I think I know him a little bit too."
On the process of the season ...
"It's those two things - the grind and the fistfight along with competition. I mean, again, I talked to [Yahoo! Sports Radio Host] Tim Brando today, and Tim's heard me talk since my first year as a head coach. It's the same old drill for me. That's exciting, that's exciting I mean, if you look at it like that because it is a process. But probably what's more exciting if you continue to stay on that line, to stay on that course whatever it may be. Then, there will be a lot of jubilation. There will be a lot of excitement at the end because you know where you have maximized. I think Storm [Warren] said it best the other day, this is them talking, not me forcing words in their mouth. Storm's been around; he said 'We don't worry this or that because we don't want to slip up again'. I think those were his exact words. He's been in some situations, not that we want to go back, last year and the year before where there was some slipping. And also he's been in situations as a freshman where he saw some really good things going on. That's the bottom line ... it's the reality for me."
On the team's success ...
"Again, I told them this prior to us going out against South Carolina that I personally was as relaxed as I've been since I've been here. I said the reason is because we've been through a lot. This group has been through a lot, and the bottom line is moving forward you know what you need to do. You know what you're capable of doing. Players make plays, teams win games. Don't let anything on the outside; let's don't let any selfishness within us. Let's don't let anything, in terms of guys trying to step out of character, trying to do too much. Let's continue to rely, trust each other and let the chips fall where they may. So that's for me, that's what it's all about. I've been in situations before where because it's late February and everyone is talking about March. Like I said before, they started talking about it in November. Kids lose focus on what's important is that you're a student-athlete, you're in college and you're playing basketball. You need to enjoy doing this as opposed to getting caught up, 'Well, dang it, if we don't win this game we may not get a NIT [berth]'. That's hard, because of what goes on now. For us old curmudgeons, it's easy. Chris [Bass] was talking to Anthony [Hickey], I guess Anthony had asked Chris 'How was Coach back when we really start winning?' Chris said 'You just saw it', there's an even-keel. I know those guys that seen us when we've won some really good games and won the [SEC] championship. I'll be the first one to dance, jump up and down and smile, you better believe that."
On Storm Warren's unselfishness and developing role ...
"It's an example that you can't put into words sometimes because guys like that, to me, are a dying breed. They're dying breeds now. Everybody wants to make emphasis on starting, well, an example are Johnny's [O'Bryant III] postgame comments when he was being interviewed by ESPN. A guy asked him like he was the only one doing something down the stretch. Johnny's first words were 'Justin [Hamilton] was making plays in the post. Storm [Warren] had a heck of a night offensively.' It's one thing to say it, but it's one thing to believe it. It's one thing for us as coaches to see it every day. That's why for me, no question, you want all of them wanting to start. You want that, there's no question. That's being competitive, but also you want them to understand that get after each other, but this is your role. At the end of the day, if everyone understands their role and everyone competes, we will all be successful because winning will overcome all of that, individual accolades."